Singles Awareness Day


It would appear that today is Singles Awareness Day. As if we needed a dedicated day to be singled out even more than we already do. **Spoiler** We were very ‘aware’ of our singledom yesterday. And why might I add, is this ‘awareness’ the day after Valentine’s day? It seems like a commiseration prize that all the happy sappy couples cooked up and served with an air of smugness. We get the leftovers, the day after everyone declares their love to their significant lovers. Is that it? For the life of me, I don’t understand it. I know I’m single! I don’t need a day to remind me and others like me that in society’s eyes, we’re a bunch of lonely bastards for which pity must be bestowed upon us.

Twitter today has gone mental from brands jumping on the bandwagon, poking fun with phrases such as, ‘Don’t be a third wheel’, ‘Even singles need love’, ‘At least you don’t have to share your biscuits’ harty harrrr haaaarrrr. Furthermore, if this day was supposed to be a true celebration of being single then shouldn’t we rename the tagline? Because awareness is not cutting it in my books. It’s almost as if one day someone haphazardly said, “Oh…I guess… yeah… I suppose singles need love too. But let’s name it an awareness like it’s a disease that one should know the signs of in order to avoid catching it.” Fuck you guy! How about that. In all actuality it should be known as the highest form of achievement day. This should also acknowledge, and include, our well versed ability in combat scenarios when jealousy befalls the crazies of a duo. Military precision on evasive action when faced with ‘oh how funny what a coincidence’ ambush set-ups. Deflection tactics when it comes to questions, and our subtle yet steadfast ability to look like we’re enjoying a day surrounded by couples doing couple things. This acknowledgement should be given as an award and bestowed to us as herald trumpets play in the background by Angels while God booms down with admiration. All the while a shrine of light beams upon us because he knows, that we know without doubt, chosen wisely. I’d like to point out that I don’t see stories of God’s wife anywhere. I was forced to go to Sunday school for years and there was no mention of God having a wife or a significant other. There’s only been speculation on the subject in recent years for which I’m sure a couple played a part in creating. Yeah I’m taking this biblical! Now, if the single path was acceptable to the creator of the universe, then surely we too should be revered in awe. Additionally, I’m not even completely sure how society has decided everything should come in pairs. A conundrum indeed!

Since we’re clearing the air…I’ll have you know I’m exceptionally happy with being single. I like not sharing my bed and not having to talk to someone as soon as I step my foot in the door after a long day of work. The sheer enjoyment I get by having the remote all to myself and being able to do my own thing without having to ‘check-in’ is paramount to me having an orgasm. That’s how good I feel people!

All this pitying that’s going on, no matter how playful it is, should be steered to all the couples out there. Who in their right mind wants to compromise in love, sex, arguments, and so on. Every time I hear stories of my couple-friends discussing their woes makes me want to hurl. They have become a shell of their former selves, who have added ‘we’ in everything. The constant emotional roller-coaster of jealousy, rage, anger, hatred, longing, analyzing, frustration, that theses pairs go through is enough to make anyone come down with a sudden spell of vertigo.

Therefore, I will be ignoring this day on the grounds that being single is awesome. And if we are pointing out truths, me thinks those frou-frou couples are jelly; as well they should be.

And so, I’ll leave you with this inspiring thought…

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❤ ❤ ❤

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How Classical Music has Helped With My Anxiety and Life in General

 

classical

I was never one to fist bump the air with elation every time I was subjected to classical music. In fact I would throw myself a pity party every time my parents would force it upon me. I can remember the uncomfortable car rides when we were living in New York. It was classical music 24/7. I would plead for them to play the country music station but alas, my calls would go unanswered. Yes, you read that right… I was obsessed with country music. I had a cassette tape of  The Judds which I used to play over and over again. My dad would get flustered and eventually snap at me because of my overuse. If it wasn’t classical or Greek music, he didn’t want to know.

When I was old enough to keep concentration for a while my parents enrolled me into a piano class. And when it was time to pick up music at school, the flute became my companion. In between these lessons they would take me to see the New York Philharmonic orchestra, and violin quartets and pianists and let’s not forget the hours worth of opera, ballet and musicals. Throughout my earlier years I saw piano and my classically trained background (I even took music theory and completed grade 5) as simply another shrug of ‘things that looked good on your college application’.

I guess I was so against it when I was younger because it was forced upon me without me having a say-so in the matter. But as I grew up I started to appreciate the fact that I was shown all these different kinds of artistic expressions. And before long I would use my time with the piano as a tool to alleviate stress. I could sit down for hours and play Mozart’s Sonata No.16 in C major over and over again. Because it soothed me. And  of course the most important reason, my brain would cease to spew out chaotic thoughts of the miseries I endured as a teenager. But then my piano playing became few and far between after I went to University. Once I moved to London I only got to play every time I visited my parents back home in Cyprus. Then they moved to another town and my piano went into hibernation. I haven’t played the piano in about 6 years now and throughout this time I have seen myself go through mental, physical and emotional issues without having an outlet to pacify these burdens. I started to get panic attacks, my anxiety was going through the roof. I ended up having a kidney infection and had to stay 2 days in the hospital. Antibiotics were my friend at that time because my kidney issues weren’t getting resolved.Money was (and is) always a struggle. I was exceptionally unhappy with my jobs. The men that I let into my life would seem to be unattainable and left me feeling insecure, vulnerable and unwanted. One, for example, said that they wouldn’t date me because of my weight. A sentence such as that sticks with you. It embeds deep within your psyche, attaching itself to even the most minute particles, where disposing of it seems remote. And I had quite a few of those sentences floating around in my noggin. Then I got IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) for which I’m still suffering 10 months later. The latter had deprived me of my simple unfulfilled life completely and my stress levels became fried. Almost as if the neurons short circuited after the amount of anxiety-volts coursed through me. I became depressed. I tried to reach out to people in my own way and they didn’t understand and in turn showed little support. I tried meditation, breathing techniques, therapy, and yoga. My music of Etta James, Little Willie John, Missy Elliot and FKA Twiggs (to name a few) wasn’t cutting it anymore in the relaxation department. And I’d like to add that the sheer thought of travel became unbearable. Which almost made me feel like I was starting to become agoraphobic, seeing as I couldn’t take the underground trains without experiencing panic attacks every single time I would descend the stairs to hell. I literally felt like I was imploding within myself. And then, amongst all this battered chaos, I thought of my piano…

I knew there was no way I could afford to buy one here in London, so I was stuck. Stuck in a place of knowing the cure that could tame the virus yet not having any syringe to dispense it. And then one day I thought, why not listen to my favourite Mozart piano piece and see how I go from there. I put my headphones in, turned the volume up and looked to hope that peace would come. Once the first notes daintily trickled out, I felt as if a gigantic orb of light engulfed me. My muscles relaxed and my brain ceased to churn out thoughts. For those 3 minutes a wave of tranquility washed over me and I knew that I had finally found my saving grace. Next I chose to play Chopin’s Nocturne No. 2 in E flat and that was when my stress melted away. I was smiling in a crammed sardine can without a care in the world. People didn’t bother me. My thoughts weren’t on my IBS. I just floated… on a cloud of calm.

Have you ever noticed, when you’re scurrying around trying to somehow not be associated with the metaphorical ant analogy, people’s faces and sound effects? Every day I would hear the huffing and puffing of wolves trying to blow down a path through the glazed commuter’s programmed route. And every day it would chip away at me. The facial expressions of hatred, annoyance and exasperation filled my view and I couldn’t shake it. Having to deal with that and all my other issues was a nightmare. Because their negativity would rub off on me. Until that is, that  one fateful day Classical music intervened.

I now listen to it everywhere I go, if you can believe that! From the girl whose threshold level for classical music was exceptionally low, this was a major achievement. It has also made me think that I am an old blob but hey, if it works then I will happily embrace becoming an old blob if it means I get to keep my sanity.

Classical music has somehow become my knight in shining armour. It has not only accompanied me on my journeys to and from work but has even caressed my ears while at work. Instead of watching countless hours of TV or waste my brain cells surfing the web, I put on a classical playlist and read a book or write in my journal. 

Before, I used to have a panic attack stepping out of my front door in fear that I would inevitably shit my pants in public due to this whole IBS thing. Because my mind was constantly thinking about all the horrid scenarios that could befall me. Before, my concentration was that of someone who was suffering from ADHD. That’s not a joke by the way. It’s how I was acting. While at work, I would flutter around from task to task, which in turn took longer than it actually should have. Because my brain would be in overdrive. While at home, simple chores became impossible to finish. While grocery shopping, I would hop around missing the essentials. But somehow all this has changed. Before, my brain would be on the go all the time; constantly inventing scenarios, conversation, over-analysing and over thinking. But now I listen to Chopin and Mozart and know that all will be ok. That I can calm myself without having to resort to medication or therapy. That I can concentrate without compromising my time. That I can live a life that’s less stressful. All I can say is….. It feels good! It feels really good.

❤ ❤ ❤

 

 

P.S.- I wanted to share this with all the pandas out there who feel like their anxiety, panic attacks and stress are getting the better of them. You are NOT alone. All I can say is to explore every possibility out there. Meditation might not have worked for me, but it might work for you. Or maybe you will find that walking more often might help. Or painting, or using one of those popular colouring books that are out there nowadays. Whatever it may be just do it often to de-stress. Because nothing is more important than the stability of your well-being! If you are unwell then you won’t be able to take care of anything else. So whatever it is, just do it!

❤ Love, Happiness and Laughter always ❤

Everything you Need to Know About Managing IBS

ibs, treating, managing, solving,

My little pandas, I have been one busy researcher who’s been battling IBS (irritable bowel Syndrome) like a ninja with one leg since May. Hence me neglecting my blog, for which I’m sorry for!

When this chaos first hit me, I thought it came out of the blue, but a whole lot of analysis later, I realised that I should have seen the signs. Then again, how can one see the signs if you don’t know what you’re looking for? Either way, this problem came into my life like a tsunami and it hasn’t gone anywhere 8 months later. After the NHS (the free health service here in the UK) failed me severely (for the second time might I add) I decided to take matters into my own hands. But my journey was not an easy one. In fact I was at breaking point on many occasions. This has tested me mentally, physically and emotionally.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, for those who haven’t had the pleasure, affects your intestines. It’s when bad bacteria runs rampant and causes mayhem in your gut. A lot of factors deplete good bacteria. Antibiotics is a major one along with any food intolerances you might have. You will be hit with stomach pains and/or/both cramps, constipation, diarrhea, excessive wind, bloating, urgent need to constantly go to the bathroom, lack of energy, back pain, and feeling sick.

IBS symptoms

Can you imagine feeling all of that? For me it was so often that I developed a phobia of not wanting to leave my house. The thought of commuting to work every day on the underground literally made me have panic attacks and anxiety. My greatest fear was that I would shit my pants, and that fear was debilitating. Every time I would leave the house I had to plan exit strategies that were closest to the nearest  bathroom. Even going around the corner to the supermarket was an extremely difficult task to complete. The constant feeling of going to the bathroom is horrendous. For me, this severe IBS took away my life. I had to cancel outings with friends, my weekends consisted of me staying cooped up at home, yet the most scariest was that I thought I was going to lose my job. Not to mention taking Ubers to and from work because I just couldn’t walk the whole commute. I’m broke now by the way.

When I would try and explain it to my close friends I was met with the typical response of ‘oh that’s terrible’ but I didn’t get any real support. Because they just didn’t get it. But if I’m honest, I expected more from them. A lot more! My mom on the other hand suggested that I should just buy adult diapers and be done with it. I know, what a humorous woman. Ha…. ha…. ha…..

The NHS doesn’t see IBS as a life-altering issue and therefore don’t do anything. One doctor told me this might last for a year, another said 6 months, AND they didn’t refer me to a Gastroenterologist until 3 weeks ago for which I am still waiting for an appointment. They also threw two pieces of paper at me that were supposed to be a helpful description of what a Low- FODMAP diet is but it was very vague. However, the icing on the cake was that they didn’t even suggest that I take probiotics! Woooosssaaahhh!

I was lost, with no real support. I was so depressed that I signed myself up to see a therapist (which was also free) but now 5 sessions in I’m convinced the whole system here is just churning out patients without really taking the time to care for them. If anything, I want my doctors to be empathetic and tell me with military precision, ‘You need to take this, this and this!’ They should have said ‘Well, you’ve taken a lot of antibiotics throughout the last year and a half ( which was due to a kidney infection that they failed to see, resulting in me running to A&E and staying in the hospital for 2 days thinking I was going to die) and that strips away all the good bacteria in your gut.’ Instead, I was left with no real answers. When the symptoms came back in full force about 3 weeks ago after eating a couple of gluten free croissants (I should have read the shitty label) I decided that this fucking IBS was not going to win! I would take control. If the doctors wouldn’t help me, then I would help myself.

So without further ado, here’s everything you need to know: (I think I’ve done enough complaining for one post don’t you think?!  🙃)

1. You should know that IBS can be triggered from food intolerances that you didn’t even know you had. These are not like full blown allergies, so don’t worry! If they were, you would definitely know it! Before this hit me, I used to eat everything. And I never even thought I could have a specific food intolerance to something. But low and behold, I did. I would have never even thought about this if it hadn’t been for a discussion that I had at a friend’s house. They referred me to Allergy test London which is where I found out that I should steer clear of beef, lamb, anything cow and sheep related, apples, corn (maize), whey, wheat, beer, lager, eggs (strangely, I can have the whites and the yolks separate) MSG, wasabi, tea, and something else but for the life of me I can’t remember.

2. The Low-Fodmap diet is a must I’m afraid. I don’t care what you read, it is the shittest diet known to man. It basically eliminates all the foods that could possibly exacerbate your IBS condition even more. After months of dreading to eat, (and I loooovvvveeeee food) I am now at a place where this diet is tolerable. I’ve accepted it through gritted teeth.

IBS, Low Fodmap, diet

This list isn’t an exact science, so beware. Even though it says that these foods/beverages should be ok it really depends on your body. You will have to eliminate everything and go from there. For me, my diet was at a bare minimum yet I was still drinking a decaf cappuccino with almond milk every day. I was still feeling ill, and so I decided to cut out the decaf coffee all together. And what do you know, I started to feel better. I also limit fruit to bananas and some strawberries. The reason being is that sugar ferments in your IBS ridden intestines and gives birth to new bad bacteria. In the beginning I was craving sweets. Which I thought was odd because I am not a sweet person. And this is because of IBS, you get cravings for sweets, so try and resist it!

3. PROBIOTICS IS A MUST!!!!!!!! I can’t stress this enough. It is so important. The three that I have tried are…

Symprove

Symprove, IBS,

I started off with Symprove for 3 weeks back in July. It helped in the beginning but then I never got any better.

Optibac – Extra Strength and Saccharomyces Boulardii

For me these two helped tremendously. My personal opinion is that you should take these two together. And before you ask, ‘Can you overdose on probiotics?’ the answer is, NO! We have trillions of bacteria in our gut. So you can never go wrong with taking enough probiotics.

Before I continue down the list here is a photo of everything that I take…

ibs-solutions

Plus…

IBS, L-glutamine, Vitamin A

4. Out of all the research that I did I came across one reoccurring note, that L-Glutamine is the mother of all holy grails for IBS suffers. Now, I can’t give the full stamp of approval, however, after 3 days of taking this I almost feel somewhat normal. Just to put this into perspective for you… it is now 3:36pm here in London and I haven’t had to go number 2! For all you IBS suffers out there I know you know how thrilling that sounds!

Here are some benefits of L-Glutamine…

IBS, L-glutamine

 

5. Invest in Digestive Enzymes. They help break down your food in order to help your body absorb the nutrients more efficiently. Therefore when your gut is out of whack it is a good idea to aid it with these.

6. I have also been taking Olive Leaf Extract as well as Turmeric. Both aid your system immensely. Here are some of the benefits for both…

7. Vitamin A also supports your Immune system. Here are some of the benefits of this Vitamin…

vitamin-a

Now, Why am I telling you that you have to keep boosting your immune system while battling IBS? Well, did you know that over 70% of your immune system is located in your gut? No, neither did I. And since my gut was battling for it’s life I figured my immune system could do with a boost.

8. Kefir is also very good for your gut, because it’s a probiotic. I wasn’t too sure about cow or sheep kefir since my body is pooh poohing both of those things so I found two alternatives…

Kefir, coconut, goat

Coconut and Goat Kefir

I am not a fan of the taste, but at this point I would drink piss if they told me that it would help my gut.

9. Now this one is a interesting one. Apparently they are now saying that IBS can be caused due to a Vitamin D deficiency! And because of this I have also started taking a vitamin D pill. It’s not a high dosage because I also take a multi-vitamin every day.

Benefits of Vitamin D

10. Stress is another factor that causes havoc to your system. This one though is tough because if any of you know what it’s like to battle with severe IBS you know that stress will sky-rocket. You are stressed to leave the house, you are stressed finding a bathroom, you are stressed from the morning you wake up till the moment you close your eyes. So I have tried meditation. I take 10 minutes out of my day to just relax. I have tried the Headspace, Digipill and calm apps. All of which are good, however I don’t really feel like giving them around £10 ($12)  a month. I was also thinking about taking up yoga.

11. SLEEP!!! Sometimes this is easier said than done. Especially when you’re not feeling well. But try and get as much sleep as possible. I am trying these Sleep patch-it things that you adhere to the bottom of your feet. And I don’t know if it’s acting like a placebo or actually really calming me but I have noticed that I have been sleeping more soundly. And when I wake up I’m more refreshed. Again, I’m not too sure about this one. But, like I said, I will try anything!

sleep, patch-it

12. Omega 3’s are another source of help for your IBS. I haven’t taken any as of yet but will let you know if I do.

Other tidbits:

  • If you are on antibiotics you must, must, must take probiotics.  Optibac have a good one that’s called ‘For those on antibiotics.’  A couple of years ago I suffered from a kidney infection which the doctors failed to see. They chucked me out and said it was probably a flu bug that was going around. But when I couldn’t even keep water down, I knew I had to rush to the A&E who told me that I had to stay for two days in the hospital. Because of that they started me on antibiotics. And throughout the 2 years that would follow antibiotics were coming and going through my system. The last dose I took was this February and I got hit with this whole IBS thing in May.
  • Eat healthy foods. Stay away from sugars and complex carbs.
  • Stop with all the alcohol.
  • Stop caffeine.
  • Listen to your body, because you know it the best! If the doctors are insisting that it’s a bug, be adamant that it’s not. You know how your body feels when you have the flu and tummy bugs. Insist that the doctors run blood and stool tests to eliminate things like Celiac and Crohn’s disease, Inflammatory bowels, Parasite or any other anomalies.

Phew! This was a long post wasn’t it! I was desperate to write this because I know that there are others out there pulling out their hair in despair dealing with IBS. It isn’t a fun thing to go through and I just wanted to let you know that you aren’t alone.

These herbal supplements won’t fix IBS overnight. You will have to be patient and strict. I know that I have probably another 6 months of all this stuff. But if I’m feeling better even in this short amount of time then I at least have hope for the future. And that is a big thing to have, for which I’m truly grateful for.

Here are some links that I was looking at through my researching frenzy.

Dr. Hyman

Dr. Axe

Help for IBS

How to treat IBS naturally – Super Naturally Healthy blog

At last a home remedy for IBS that gives proven results

Lastly, please consult a specialist on which herbal pills you should take along with the dosages. If I had to choose just 3 things to help my IBS, it would be the probiotics, L-Glutamine and Olive leaf extract, along with the Low-FODMAP diet.

Let me know if any of you are finding luck with any of these or if you’ve found something else that might be helpful.

❤ ❤ ❤

On a slightly different tangent, I just wanted to give a shout-out to my local  pharmacy Panacea Health & Beauty, because if it wasn’t for those lovely ladies I don’t know where I’d be right now. One of the ladies, started me on symprove probiotics and I thought she was an angel sent down from heaven just for me. I later went back and wrote down everything that I was going to take and another lady told me what else I should get because she too also suffered from IBS and was able to cure it through these natural remedies. I can’t stress this enough, that pharmacy and especially the ladies who were so wonderful and extremely knowledgeable helped me tremendously.

Best pharmacy ever

 

When Monday Motivational Quotes Don’t Do The Trick… (battling with depression, anxiety and panic attacks)

al bundy giphy

So my little pandas, I’m going to try and talk about depression, panic/anxiety attacks in the lightest way possible. Key word being… try, because quite frankly I don’t want to get myself worked up again to the point where funny gifs won’t be able to do their job anymore.

Lately I have been suffering from a load of shit. Some of it literal and others being more metaphorical. Long story short I was having major tummy issues (see my previous post). It has been reoccurring since end of May. Right after my stomach went all Mt. Vesuvius I was also about to start a new job. Let me tell you, having to juggle the mental acrobatics of trying to coax yourself out of distress in fear of shitting your pants in public and learning the ropes of a new job really took a toll. I started to crumble. There were days where I would only eat like 2 bananas and some strawberries in fear that I would loose the battle with my bowel. I figured the less I had to eat the less times I would have to be in the bathroom. Throughout this time I lost my appetite completely. Now, I would like to inform you all that I’m a gal that loves food. So for that simple pleasure to be ripped away from me didn’t help me mentally. On top of all this I was also worried about money, the quality of my life here in London, being a hermit, not having any friends around, not having someone to come home to, not starting a family and my parents.  You see, because I was at such a low point I brought all these other things into my head. I started collecting all my failures one by one and lined them up solemnly.

I swear the brain is a blessing and a curse. Sometimes circuits get re-wired, re-programming takes effect and for a short while you turn into a person that is just not you. You are floating in the distance looking down at this destructive blob that has taken over your body and you can’t do anything about it. You just watch, saying ‘Hey, that’s not me! I don’t think things are so bad!’ But it can’t hear you, for the Pandora’s box of negativity has opened and it’s nothing but a downward spiral from here on out.  There are bouts of sanity however, that may filter through. Where thoughts pop into your head like “I know this is nothing. People are going through much worse things. What you’re going through will pass. Stop being so negative.” But then, your brain switches and you are back into the deepest abyss. It’s a sense that you will never get through this. A sense of despair. As if you were drowning. Or sinking into quicksand.

My stomach caused me to have more anxiety. I would be anxious to leave the house. I was in constant fear that I would have an accident in public. Anxiety turned into panic attacks where I would self-destruct. I hated everything that I was. Everything that I achieved was meaningless because I was convinced I was a failure at life. I called up my mom, who is from an era that never really talked about mental health, even though her sister was a social worker. The compassion, understanding gene of mental health must have skipped my mom. However, I don’t blame her really. She just never was around it. Therefore, everything that she was saying made me revert into an even worse place. So I was screwed with no outlet to vent. I thought of going to see a psychologist but then became even more depressed when I realised I couldn’t afford it.

It’s a very hard thing to explain to someone who doesn’t get panic/anxiety attacks or depression. You eventually end up sugar-coating it. You don’t want to say to people that you don’t see the point in living anymore. That maybe you should just throw in the towel and call it a day. Because sometimes dark thoughts manifest so much so that you can’t control it. Fortunately for me, mine are just thoughts. Because I know that with each battle won, I’m strong enough to face another episode if/when it happens. But at the time it’s all I would think of. That I am a failure and everything in my life has been a consistent pile of shit that magically increases in the amount of shit with every year that goes by.

Yet, somehow the storm passes and I continue to chug along. I continue to stay afloat. Sometimes in that moment you feel like you are the only one in that black hole and once you escape you can’t help but rejoice fighting off your arch-nemesis.

This wasn’t a post about me complaining about what I’m going through. The message of this post was to simply say… you are not alone. And besides, it’s better to get it out than to hold it in.

Here are somethings that can help: (I am no expert, but these are some things that have helped me) 

  1. Make sure to surround yourself with people who understand. In this instance, people who are prone to dishing out tough love are not the kind of people you should be around at the moment.
  2. Look at old photos (or any photos) that show some happier times. For me, my brain starts recalling those memories in detail and for a time it forgets what sadness you might be going through. It lessen the load.
  3. Write down everything you’re feeling in a journal. Here is where you can be the most candid. So let it all out.
  4. Go for walks and take in as much fresh air as possible.
  5. Get a lot of sleep. For me, when I stress my brain doesn’t turn off, even when I sleep. I even have extremely vivid dreams of me constantly battling something, getting killed, you know the usual! So it’s important to try and get as much sleep as possible. That way when your sleep becomes interrupted you can add in a couple more hours in there.
  6. Soak in a bath. Unfortunately my tiny studio doesn’t permit a normal bath (it’s just a shower) so the next best thing is for me to sit on my couch and soak my feet. Improvisation is key people!!
  7. Eat as healthy as possible. I know booooooo to this! But sugars don’t help panic/anxiety. I know they say it’s part of comfort food but it does more damage in the long run.
  8. Ok this one is something that I do…. I put on some music and dance and sing until I get tired. I feel sorry for my neighbours.
  9. When things get really bad, it’s ok to curl up in bed and do nothing. You are allowed!
  10. Watch youtube videos of fluffy baby pandas. This one never does me wrong! It always makes me smile!

❤ ❤ ❤

Wishing you all the happiness, health love and laughter in the world…

PS- I know, this wasn’t such a light post… Sorry! ❤ D

When Your Love Affair With Food Has Come To An End…

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‘Food glorious foooooood!’…. is what I want to sing from the top of my lungs whenever I discuss such a scrumptious topic. I’m not going to lie, I love food. It brings you together with friends, you feel the love that was made with it while sitting around the dinner table with family, and let’s not forget the feelings of euphoria that run wild after you’ve finally satiated your haaanger. I mean, what’s not to love about food! Well, after so many years of having the best love affair of my life, it would seem it has come to an end. At least for the time being. My lover, has betrayed me, and my stomach and gut are now paying the price.

Yesterday was a very lazy Sunday for me and I decided to watch the movie “Chocolat”. However, it wasn’t the best of choices with what I’m going through. While watching it I started drooling at all the mouth-watering deliciousness that was on display. You see my fluffy pandas I was torturing myself. It was a cruel and unusual way to go but I did it nonetheless. I sat there wishing I could have every magical morsel that presented itself on my screen. The funny thing is, I’m not a sweets person. Savoury is my thing. Like lasagna, pesto sauce with penne pasta, Greek dips, roast chicken with all the trimmings, pizza, a Patty & Bun Chicken Burger,  Chilli cheese fries, warm fat pretzels, this Rosemary & potato sourdough bread from Gail’s. I mean I could carry on but I will spare you. Anyway, while watching the movie I seemed to be serenading the TV forcefully, almost as if I were pleading with a long lost ex to take me back. And then I screeched “Why have you cursed me?!” towards the heavens. “WHYYYYYYYY?!!” As I looked back at my screen it was just in time to see Dame Judi Dench seductively sip the silky thick  hot chocolate. Her expression after that was of pure euphoria. The kind you would get after a great orgasm. (Yeah, I went there). There she was, stupid Judi and her stupid happy expression. All I could do was yell “CURSE YOU BAD JOO JOOS! Curse….. you!”  as I raised my fists in the air.

Ok..ok….my melodrama is over. I swear. Oh one last thing… I also watched Julie & Julia. I know, I know! Food movies back to back.

You see, as some of you know, for the past 10 weeks I have not been feeling well. The doctors ran tests and nothing really came up. They said that it could be IBS but they didn’t want to say for sure. The first 4 weeks were the most miserable of my life. I had to take an Uber to and from work just so I wouldn’t have an anxiety attack in an underground tin-can as I shit on myself profusely. There were days where my internal pep talks consisted of… “You can do this. You will not shit your pants. You own your poop, not the other way round! Just go out the front door. Good. Now walk down the stairs. You’re doing it. You see, everything will be fine. Start walking to the bus. You got this Ali! You are one tough cookie. You…. oh shit. RUN! RUN BACK HOME! RUN FOR YOUR FUCKING LIFE! CLENCH CLENCH CLENCH!” And then I would slam the door to my apartment, start sobbing and ultimately feel really sorry for myself. This was the cycle. My life… for weeks.

The doctors were not that helpful. They said most of the time they don’t usually refer patients unless the symptoms persist for at least 6 months. A big HELL NO to that one. The only suggestion that they made was for me to go on a Low-FODMAP diet for the next two weeks. And with a shitty little leaflet, that didn’t explain what I should or shouldn’t eat, I left. My heart grew heavy and I decided after my umpteenth visit to the docs to walk into this posh pharmacy and plead with them to give me a miracle. And guess what? They actually did! Their suggestion was a probiotic liquid called Symprove. Within 2 days I felt almost back to normal. At the same time however, I did switch to the Low-FODMAP diet. So both have helped tremendously. But I really think the Symprove was the key. There was one slip up with a spelt grain pasta (which I thought I could have) and had to call in sick the next day. But apart from that I have been feeling at 90%. Which is a drastic improvement. But alas, even despite my positive outcome, with every passing day I start to loath food at little bit more. And that’s because of the diet I’ve been put on.

Here’s what I can have….

fodmap-diet-food-list_414929

Unfortunately, I had to say ‘see ya later’ to my two favourite ingredients, garlic and onions. How the hell does one cook without these two things?! My breads and pastas, unless they were gluten-free, were out of the question. Avocados and asparagus which I both adore, I can’t have. The list above says I can have 1/4 avocado but others say I shouldn’t. Hence, I leave it out. So, I was stuck with rice and rice cakes. Who the hell likes rice cakes by the way? It’s what I imagine eating cardboard would taste like. Every time I eat one I have to lather it with almond butter but, guess what?! N0w I can’t lather. Therefore, I’m officially screwed. Luckily I can eat plain meat, fish, and chicken so that’s something I guess.

All in all this diet has forced me to rethink how I eat. It’s forced me to look at my meals with a shoulder shrug of whatever. I have no desire anymore when I sit down to eat and that’s the part that’s killing me. I used to love going home after work and making something fun. But the thing that has nudge the dagger in a little deeper is the fact that I can’t bake anymore. I will have to work with Rice/corn flour and buy gluten free baking soda. I mean, woe is me right?!

Don’t worry, I’m not that depressed. But I am disappointed. When it comes to my health I take things very seriously therefore I’m following the Low-Fodmap diet to a tee! I know how important your health is and to always make sure it comes first. But in the process I have lost my love. And my love, has ripped open my heart and filled it with emptiness. I’m onto my third week now and food has never looked so dissatisfying. Yet, I know that I must grin and bear it. I’m not listening to the doctors suggestion of two weeks because everyone else is saying I have to be on this for at least a couple of months. And I like to be thorough. However the thing that’s really driving me? Is not repeating the shits any time soon. I will soldier on even though my permanent expression nowadays is the stank face of misery. I will endure, I will conquer! I sound like I’m going to war don’t I?! Lord I’ve got mental issues. By the way I would like to add that I would prefer coddling myself with two bottles of wine. But you guessed it…. I CAN’T!! Wooooooossssaaaaaahhhhh!

And so with all that being said…. my love affair has ended. The comfort has gone. The desire and passion has disintegrated. And slowly its embrace will be a very distant memory.

This was my ode, my lament to food. Oh how I’ll miss you. You never judged me. You were a soothing reassurance that everything was going to be alright.

Oh woe is me….

❤ ❤ ❤

PS- I will do a dedicated post on the Low-FODMAP diet along with two great books you should buy. Don’t worry, I won’t be complaining in that one! 🙂

It’s Okay, You Don’t Have To Settle…

 

Now that it’s officially summer, I’ve been seeing a lot of couples snuggling and holding sweaty hands together. Definitely more than usual. Maybe they chose the couple’s path because they wanted a partner to do fun summer things with. Or maybe they’re just tired of going to gatherings as that ‘single’ person, so they found another single person to be their indefinite plus one. Or perhaps it’s just that love is in the air and I haven’t gotten the memo.

It’s sickeningly mushy just how many gushy smiles and long enamoured gazes of adoration are strewn in front of me. It actually reminds me of ‘Bambi’. You know when all of the young animals start awakening their inner lovey-dovey syndrome? Well that’s what seems to be going on around here and to tell you the truth it’s starting to make me feel a bit queasy.

At times I feel the pressure of being single. Of being almost 33 (in 2 days, eek!) and still not have a ‘husband’ and ‘kids’. The Greek side in me is saying you’re a fucking spinster. But the other side is saying, why do you have to settle for something right now? Why do I have to feel bad about the fact that I’m single and have no interest in men. Don’t get me wrong, from time to time thoughts  of attachment swivel around my brain. Not to mention that there’s also soft porn scenarios being played out by a strong Chris Hemsworth type that will have his way with me. But those are temporary. One where the ultimate outcome would be for him to come in, take care of me for a little while and then leave. In the long run? I’m not so sure I want to, or can, settle down with a man. And I most certainly don’t want to settle in life either. I’m not sure why I’m the turtle in this race, but I am. Where the glacial pace seems to be the norm.

Settling for me means that I have accepted that life has handed me a small when I clearly wanted an extra-large. It’s knowing that my routine will be like this for the rest of my life. It’s the acceptance of servitude. And honestly, I want more.

My life right now is very much a multitude of unknowns. I don’t have anything written in stone and I kind of like that. Sure I get stressed but at least I don’t feel the mundanity of every day life. I want to try and strive for everything. I don’t want someone or something putting me in a glass box so to speak. I haven’t planned all the intricacies that people do when it comes to their outline of life. I don’t know if I will achieve any of the things I’ve set out to do. But at least I can be in my 80’s with 50 cats saying “Well at least I tried”.

Love for me is a very romanticised  concept. As much as I loath the men that I’ve been with turning my heart into shattered stone I still believe that love does exist. But I also believe that it is a very precious thing, so precious in fact that people have not been properly trained in the matter. They fling love around like a tester dummy, not caring whether bumps or bruises form. And because of this I haven’t been able to let go. I do try, but eventually people have ultimately proven me right. Whereas I desperately am trying to be proven wrong. However, despite my hang-ups on this subject I still have a Pinterest board named “If I were ever to get married, this would be the dream.

So settling is not an option for me. I don’t want to be stuck in a loveless situation, nor an unfulfilled life situation. If I find someone then they will accept me for everything that I am and for everything I am not. If life somehow turns into a routine then I will always change it.

I guess what I’m saying, is that I want to look back on my life and know without a shadow of doubt that my choices were my own. That I persevered through the unbeaten path. That even though my advances might have been small, the outcome was in a war won. That love conquered me in the most genuine of ways. I’m not striving for all the riches in the world. All I’m striving for is the idea that my life can be what I truly see it to be and nothing less! For if it were less, then that means I would have settled.

❤ ❤ ❤

100 Things To Do Before You Die…

100 things to do before you die

So my little pandas, I have been MIA lately and I can only send you 1000 apologies for that. In a nutshell I have changed jobs and for the past 7 weeks my stomach has felt like Mount Vesuvius. It was affecting me so much that I couldn’t even leave my house in fear that I would randomly explode on public transport. I’m sure that’s painted a wonderful picture but that’s my life at the moment. It ain’t all roses. On top of that, I had major stress that I would be fired because I kept having to leave. But luckily as of right now they have been understanding about the situation. But who knows if this continues.

In these past  several weeks, I’ve been so down in the dumps that I did some woe is me kind of thinking. My conclusion? Is that life is way too short and I have wasted many years of it. I also realised that if you don’t have your health then you don’t have anything. The joy of walking around and not needing to be near a bathroom is like a foreign act for me nowadays. It’s hindered everything. Slowly I know I’m getting better but as I’m sure you can guess, my mental faculties were fried. Exhaustion and stress took over and negativity and moping were my new friends.

As I sat around being sulky I couldn’t help but think ‘Man, I haven’t achieved much up until now…’ I literally work, sleep and eat. Which if I’m being completely honest is not a healthy way to live. Alone all the time and work? No, it should definitely be more than that.

Flashbacks started coming to me of a girl many moons ago, full of hopes and dreams, knowing that she would never lead a settled, 9-5 life. She sensed that she would do big things. But alas life has a humorous way of weaving you through an obstacle course that’s so vast and tangled you eventually forget what you’re striving for.

And on that note, I should mention that next Friday the 8th of July is my 33rd birthday. So now you know where my head’s at and why I’ve been moping more than usual. Add the Mount Vesuvius issues and you’ve got a mess of epic proportions. The paranoid fears in my mind are concocting scenarios such as whispers being heard from all across the land of an old lonely spinster bitch who can’t even afford a goldfish for company. My only hope is that if I stick up a lot of affirmations and goals around my place I will subconsciously start to change for the better. Therefore to get me going I’ve made a bucket list of the things that I believe one should do before they die.

Here you go…

Bucket list 100 things to do before you die